The inaugural NXL Paintball Combine event in Orlando, FL is in the books. The event began on a Thursday night with a meet and greet session between the pro players, owners, and the 60+ participants playing in the event. This was a great opportunity to break the ice between the players and hosts before a grueling combine experience on Friday.
Friday was an incredible day of teaching and scouting upcoming and talented players that flew in from all over North America. I can honestly say, all of the combine teachers and I were extremely impressed with all of the players’ drive to learn the game and be competitive. A small handful of players showed real potential to replace some of today’s paintball legends if they continue to push and progress their game. Luckily, that is exactly what the paintball combine was designed for. Those players had a chance to show their skills in front of a crowd of professional coaches.
Saturday brought the NXL Combine/Winter Classic tournament. Players were broken up by skill level, determined by the combine coaches over the 8 hours of play on Friday. This was another great opportunity for the combine players to gain tournament experience, as they had a chance to play against some of the best teams in the world, including Dynasty, Houston Heat, X-factor, Damage and our very own Combine All-stars (Myself, Scott Kemp, Nick Slowiak, Justin Rabackoff, & Keith Brown).
After a long day of paintball and 12 prelim games, a handful of teams progressed into Sunday for the rest of the tournament, which they battled out in their own divisions. In the open division, our Combine All-star team went on to defeat Houston Heat in the Semi-finals and take second place overall in the tournament. Many of the players whose teams were knocked out of the event went on to compete in the 2vs2 event hosted on Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, there was enough paintball to be played to meet anyone’s fix!
When the weekend was all said and done, I can’t explain how impressed I was. As professional players, many of us have seen a large skill gap develop between the pro players and the next generation of players. It was nowhere short of a relief to see so many dedicated, talented, and young players competing at the combine event. I heard there is already another NXL Paintball Combine event in the making. You can bet I won’t miss it. I recommend you do the same! - Greg Siewers #14